How to SEO & SEM your Russian sites

Features of website promotion in yandex.

How to promote your site for Yandex?

“The mirror of the RuNet (Russian internet)” – is a leader of the search engine market in Russia. Most of SEO activity in Russian-speaking Internet is basically oriented for Yandex. And it’s understood – first of all, Yandex has 50-60% of all of the Russian search queries, secondly, it’s audience is far more commercial and more inclined to purchase, that of, i.e., Google.

In this article, i’m going to give you a couple of tips and tricks, that you will find useful, optimizing your website for Yandex. I’ll skip basic things, like headers, titles, clean code, quick hosting, etc. Let’s focus on differences and nuances. I must warn you, that all this article is based solely on personal experience, so only the Yandex knows the truth.
Beforehand, i have to say, that promoting the website in this search engine is not any easier task, than doing so in Google. Actually, it is even harder and a little bit more complicated. Yandex can easily bestow some of it’s filters upon you, or, vise versa, can give you some of its love. Sometimes it can act unexpectedly, but more often, its behavior is following certain consistent patterns.

Internal optimization

1) If you are going to optimize for more or less challenging query, it’s not likely, that you will get in Yandex TOP10 if you have only one page on your site relevant to this query. Look at the TOP10 for popular queries – you will see “more” (rus. “ещё”) button. Most likely you’ll see a large list of relevant documents there.


more relevant content means more relevance rank for site
Of course, this doesn’t mean, that you must have lots of pages with certain keyword on your site to be more relevant to it in Yandex. It only means, that this certain project has lots of information on given subject, so it may be really useful for user.
2) Article’s thematic. In my opinion, this point’s influence on site promotion for Yandex is growing. I’ll try to explain. Everybody knows, that some defined percentage of keyword density on page is not an indicator of relevance. It’s not even necessary to use exact match keywords on page to be relevant anymore (in fact, SERP sometimes show synonyms or words close by meaning).texts' topic has great influence on page ranking
So how then could Yandex define, how relevant certain page is? Surrounding text it is. If an article says about site promotion, then, most likely, if it is high-quality content it would also mention site optimization, external links, etc.
I’ve tried to create 5 different pages for 5 different low-competition keywords. Those keywords were harmonically spread in the text, but the text itself was of not relevant thematic regarding the keywords. Then I waited for a month or so after their indexation to let those pages get some age and trust. And after that I’ve found out, that not a single page made it to the Yandex TOP100.
3) Snippet is something hard to control in Yandex. While Google is likely to use well-made meta-description as a snippet, for the “Runet mirror” same is not always true. If you really want to try to influence the snippet, try writing 2 sentences in the first paragraph on page considering certain query, using different entries of given keyword. I.e. for this page it could be:
          In this article you’ll find some interesting features of site promotion for Yandex. It will help the site you are promoting to get to the Yandex TOP.
Of course, such description is a little bit too imposing as for a personal blog, so I’m not using it. It’s all up on Yandex to decide what will be shown in a snippet.
4) Oveoptimized text. This innovation had been announced not so long ago. It has not been studied well yet, thus you can rest assured that you should try to not look optimized too much. If you think, that your text could be hard to read by a human due to optimization, you should rewrite it, using synonyms or some close by meaning words.  Actually, over-optimization has never been something search engines were endorsed to. It’s just another strike in the battle for human-oriented content.
5) Age of the site (not to be mistaken for the domain’s age) and the page. It’s getting harder for new sites to gain higher ranks. With the flow of the time Yandex gains it’s trust not only to the site itself, but to certain articles as well. It’s common to see that some page gets higher in the SERP without links, but after some time  passed. If you are having some project planned for future, but that is not quite ready yet, register a domain for it and place some thematic content there. Then you’ll have an older, a little bit trusted site for when you finally  manage to run your project 😉
6) Site trust. Trust has great influence on Yandex ranking. If you manage to get some, you’ll make promotion much easier  for yourself. Obviously, it’s the most abstract metric, nevertheless it has it’s value in practice. Have you ever seen a site, where no SEO’s foot ever stepped, having 1000+ visitors a day though? If you did, be sure that search engines trust those sites. I may assume, that trust is affected by content, site’s age, incoming and outgoing links, user experience, etc. (literally a lot of factors).

External optimization

Linkbuilding is good when it is done good
1) External links’ influence in Yandex is getting lower nowadays. It’s, probably, obvious for everyone making SEO. For example: you’ve created a page for a certain query on your old, trusted site. If that page is not in TOP 40-50 after 1-2 months, then it’s unlikely, that you can “push” it up to TOP10 with links. So you should work in some other directions. Do not “fight the wall”, you’d better work on some more prospective keywords, promoting which would be much more effective and correlated reasonably to it’s cost.
2) Link updates and link’s age. Let’s assume, that Yandex have found and indexed a link. It will start working only after the next link update, when all links indexed before a certain date would be accounted for.
With time flowing, the link’s weight may vary (either increase or decrease). It may increase, for example, due to the time spent in the index, link’s source site trust growth, etc. In counterpart, link weight could decrease due to source site trust decrease, or “blinking”, when link is not placed permanently and could not be always found on the page by crawler.
3) Things are interconnected in site promotion for Yandex. I.e., while promoting for one query, you will pull up a couple of other adjacent and\or thematical keywords. This is something to mention when building links.
4) Links variety. The more links, from more sources, the more naturally looking your link profile is. Of course, you should target only effective sources.
5) Anchor text variety. If every single link has same anchor text, that is very suspicious. Diversify your anchor list.
Considering mentioned above, here are some strategical advices:
  • Do not attempt to gain quick results, promoting site for Yandex. Make it slower, but solid.
  • Promote only relevant queries, that are well represented on the project. Firstly, they will gain you more profit (showing bigger conversion rate), and secondly, they would be much easier to promote.
  • Different link sources with different anchor texts, or, in other words, comprehensive approach in link building is way more effective, than monotonous, jogtrot purchases.

So, how do you promote your site in Yandex search? What features have you discovered? What useful observations have you made? Share them with others, so we can make search better and cleaner.

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